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Tampa Bay Animal Shelters Reaching Capacity Due to Housing Crisis

"You know, we're one of the largest shelters in the area and last year, we saved over 13 thousand dogs and cats so it's a big place," said Sherry Silk, CEO of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. "And we've been in this new shelter for almost two years now and I thank goodness that we have the extra space because we are seeing a tremendous, tremendous uptick in numbers of animals being turned in."

Silk is proud of how far her local animal shelter has come, but part of a recent dramatic increase in the animal intake sector is due to the current housing crisis.

"We're finding a lot of folks are losing their apartments or homes and often they have a dog or cat," she explained. On any given day, the shelter can accommodate about 350 animals. That is until now, with little to no vacancy some days.

"To the point that some days, we're full and we can't take them until we do some adoptions and then have empty cages again," she says most are distraught about having to make the final decision. "In fact, as of today if you would call and say 'I have a cat I can no longer keep, we'd say 'we have not a single cat cage. Families pull up in their cars because they've lost their apartment and they have a dog or cat in the car and they're living in their car and could just no longer do it."

But her team is finding ways to curb the dramatic influx.

"[Often times] prices are higher and everything so they just need help providing the food. Sometimes it's supplies. Sometimes collars and leashes. If a bag of dog food every week is going to help people keep their pets, r supplies, we're hoping that that helps."

The pet pantry is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for both pickup and drop off donations.

"You don't have to show any proof of anything. Just come here, and we'll help you as much as we can," said Silk.

For more information from the shelter, click here.

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